It is imperative for any running business to have systems and operations in place for smooth functioning. We all use some level of technology to help make things easier. However, at times it is highly difficult to blur the lines between automation and human interaction. How much is too much when it comes to applying automation and systems in business?
Automation is all digital; it is all technology. But you are dealing with patients on the other end. You cannot expect them to connect with you through automated messages. Does that mean you shouldn’t be incorporating technology into your business? Of course not! The idea is to create a balance and understand the limitations AND the potential of having systems in place. And that is all that we will be covering in today’s blog post.
Truth about Systems and Automation
Have you ever tried contacting a customer service of a business through their website only to be holding a conversation with a chat bot? Will you mind it? The chances are you wouldn’t, as long as your concerns are timely and correctly heeded to. However, if you would like to speak to a representative directly, then you would want that option to be available, right?
This is where automation becomes interesting- it does solve problems for your business by making processes easier and more accessible. However, they, by no means can replace the human element of it all.
Hence, the key is to make automation a part of your business process, rather than having it replace it. Also, you need to personalize it based on your own targets and needs.
Primarily, there are three elements to automation- simplification, structure and system.
The process needs to be easy to follow. It should organically fit into your systems without making it more complex. By simplifying processes, you also get clarity. There are many options for automation available, and if you go after all or most of them without having set targets, you will lose clarity.
Your automation process needs to have a purpose. You cannot just keep on mixing strategies in the hopes of ‘hitting it off’ somewhere. You need to have defined targets that need to be achieved with your automation processes. It could be getting more referrals, make the phone ring more often, tackle employee turnover etc. But this isn’t it. You need to get further down the grind! How many referrals are you trying to achieve? Three per month or two each week? How many times would you like the phone to ring? What percentage of turnover are you trying to reduce?
Being specific enables you to create processes and systems that are directly targeted towards achieving those goals.
Why are you building something? This should be at the core of your system. And in order to create an effective system, you need to focus both on getting the strategy right BEFORE the tactics. You need to know your strategy in order to apply the right tactics for it. And this is where most business owners go wrong when applying systems. They have no structure and no strategy. The install systems for the sake of it, without giving it the direction per say.
Another common mistake practice owners make is automation. They tend to detach themselves from the system. Yes, the system should be able to run itself, but it is not an end all solution. Your targets, goals, requirements continue to evolve, as should your system.
And in order for it to keep up, you need to continuously keep yourself in the loop. You need to think about the customer experience! That is the heart of any successful business. It is super important.
We often get too directed by the strategy, systems and processes that we tend to forget about the customer.
The World Wide Web is brimming with information, personal information that enables practice owners to personalize their marketing strategies. There is a lot of data out there, data is big business and everyone seems to be cashing on it. However, when it comes to automation, we need to maintain a balance between personalization and automation. Not all our patients are carbon copies of one another. They all have different needs, hopes and aspirations.
And the best way to do this is to understand the patient and develop a system around it, rather than the other way round.
Your systems and processes need to be able to evolve with more data fed into it. Automate the process, but personalize the experience.
Having Your Team Onboard
Systems and processes are not just about you and how you run your business. Your team members are an essential component of this mix, and they need to be consistently involved. Your systems should cater to the needs and comforts of your team members.
In order to scale your business, you need to leverage your team. It is easy to do things yourself, but it is difficult to teach someone else to do it- but it is an important process. So before you think of installing new systems, you need to get your team members on board with it. And then give them the time and training to adapt to those systems.
Choose the Right System
If there was a key takeaway to all that we have discussed today, it would be this- selecting the right system! There are hundreds of systems out there, and more being introduced with every passing minute. They all seem tempting, they all seem interesting. But they aren’t all built for achieving your specific goals. Select a system that manages to help you reach your targets. The fact is, a system can only follow instructions, it will not scale your business for you.
It will not make the sale or build a patient base for you, it will only assist you in doing the same. At the heart of every successful system and automation is simplification and structure that will give you the scale!
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